American Mass Media and Popular Culture: How Does It Influence Us?
Mass media is endangering our way of life and our lack of the ability to listen is
only making it worse. The first selection is by Cynthia Crossen and she discusses the nation’s lack of listening ability. In her article, she explains possible problems with our society today. She writes about our ability to comprehend 500 words a minute, and the average speaker only talks 120 to 150 words a minute. She feels this difference allows time for mental fidgeting. I agree. She also feels that we are to worried with getting our point across and not listening to the other person in the process. This is where she says television talk shows play a role. If you tune in to any show you can see 4 or 5 people talking at the same time, this makes the show more interesting executives feel. In closing, she wants people to become better listeners, so that each side gives something and each side gets something.
I agree completely with Crossen in her entire article. We have lost the ability to listen. The ability to listen is often thought of as automatic, but it is not. Just because a
person can hear doesn’t mean they are listening. In everyday life listening is the most
important aspect. As Crossen suggests, we need to get back to the days of old and listen
first. We were blessed with two ears and one mouth for a reason.
The second selection is by Jill Nelson who makes an assault on television talk
shows. Nelson speaks out against television talk shows and discusses moral obligations
that they are neglecting. She feels that the success of these shows is based on external
economic, social, and political factors. She assumes the people on these shows are
craving their fifteen minutes of fame, which is an illusion of success and importance.
Nelson states that the current crop of talk shows exist solely as entertainment based on
the humiliation, or potential humiliation, of their guests. I agree.
Television talk shows are a despicable form of mass media and should be taken
off the air. They throw gasoline on a fire and sit back and watch it burn. In her article,
Nelson gives a perfect example of this when she discusses the Jenny Jones Show where a
secret crush was exposed, and the man could not handle the fact it was a guy who had a
crush on him. In the end, he murders the man because of the humiliation that he suffers
when he goes back home. The talk shows are worried about one thing, ratings. Yet, I do
not agree with Nelsons’ belief that talk show guests are mostly black and Latino. I feel all
ethnic backgrounds are equally portrayed on these shows. They all have one thing in
common, they are all “white trash.”
Finally, the third selection by Patricia J. Williams makes an assault on radio talk
shows and the people that support them. The title of Williams’ article is “Hate Radio,”
this title expresses her feelings toward radio shows. She feels that the radio has the power
to change the course of history. She states that the unifying theme on radio shows is the
general contempt for the world, and a verbal stoning of anything different. She ends her
article with the question, what future are we designing with the devotion of such
tremendous resources to the disgraceful propaganda of bigotry.
In the article written by Williams, I do agree with the fact that radio talk shows
can be rather shocking. Yet, it seems that the basis for her article is not radio talk shows
being shocking, but it seems to be problems with white America. Williams calls herself a
militant black woman, and cranky feminazi. I think she has labeled herself properly.
“The cabbies stopped for all the white businessman” she states in the article. I think her
article spends more time expressing the problems of her life. I do not think radio talk
shows are damaging to the public in the same manner television talk shows do. The
majority of radio talk shows do not attempt to destroy the public image. I enjoy the radio
because I feel it is more objective than other forms of mass media. I feel that her article
was more “damaging” than any radio show I have heard.
Word Count: 739